Friday, October 24, 2003

Yesterday, I had the priviliege of walking the halls of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. I had the chance to see the portraits of such great men as James P. Boyce, John Broaddus, and A. T. Robertson. I was given the privilege of sitting at the desk of Dr. Al Mohler, President of Southern Seminary. As I walked through the campus, I was hit by the fact that many great men and women have walked these halls over the last 150 years. They have gone out into the world and given their lives in service to Jesus Christ.

I left campus this morning to come home and have a renewed sense of dedication to continue to walk in the steps of those who have gone beforeus . They have left us great examples of faith, dedication, love, commitment, and sacrifice. We are to learn from them. The apostle Paul says, "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us." We are to follow the example of Paul, but also to observe others who walk with the Lord Jesus and follow the pattern that they leave us.

I challenge you to study the life of a great Christian and learn from them. Then put into practice the examples that have been given to us!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Last week, Mahathir Mohammed, Prime Minister of Malaysia, speaking to the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit, made the following remarks to the summit:
• The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy,"
• They get others to fight and die for them," he said, adding, "1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews."
• The Jews survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking. They invented socialism, communism, human rights in democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others."
• he called upon the world's Muslims to end attempts to resolve problems by violence, condemned the practice of suicide bombing, and claimed that the Islamic nations had gained "nothing" in more than a half century of fighting Israel. But then he followed it up with a call to arms with greater weapons to fight the Jews.

The audience included Afghan President Hamid Karzai, King Abullah of Jordan, Assyrian President Bashar Assad, Morocco's King Mohammed VI, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Special observers included Philippine President Gloria Arroyo and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The speech was met with applause from the audience that was present.

Speech's like this remind us of the fact that the world is a very dangerous place. Man’s heart is always moved towards hatred and lies. Hatred is based on lust and pride of the human heart. John says in 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Hatred towards others is the way of the world. But for followers of the Lord Jesus Christ we will have love towards all. Love is patience, kind, not jealous, does not brag, is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, is not selfish, is not provoked, never takes into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. This is the evidence that the grace of God is real in our lives.

The key to living in the world is to know that good works! The world uses hatred and lies to move towards its purposes. The followers of the Lord Jesus Christ uses love. Christians loves fellow believers, they pray for their enemies, they goes the extra mile with those who try to take advantage of them, and they never return evil with evil, but only return good for evil. The reason is the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ know that good works!

The world may seem out of control, but the Lord Jesus Christ is in complete control. The world may be overwhelm by lies and hatred, but the kingdom of God is moving forward based on truth and love.

Never be shocked by the hatred you see in the world. But also never return hatred with hatred and never return lies with lies. As salt and light in the world, may we stand with truth and love. And trust the Lord God to accomplish his purposes through those who believe that good works!

Friday, October 17, 2003

I read a new book on Thursday that is called Coach Wooden One on One. Coach Wooden who coached at UCLA was the greatest coach of last century. During his coaching career, he won 667 games and only lost 191. He won the PAC 10 over 19 times during his career. He won 10 National Championships in college basketball. During his coaching career, his team had a home record of 149 wins and 2 loss. During one stretch UCLA won 88 straight games. He also had a record 38 straight wins in the NCAA tourneyment. What made him such a great coach.

He said in his book that his father gave him a card one day that he carried through his life?

One one side the card had a poem by Henry Van Dyke

Four things a man must learn to do
If he would make his life more true:
To think without confusion clearly,
To love his fellow man sincerely,
To act from honest motives purely,
To trust in God and heaven securely.

On the other side was his dad's creed

1. Be true to yourself
2. Help others
3. Make each day your masterpiece
4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
5. Make friendship a fine art.
6. Build a shelter against rainy days.
7. Pray for guidance and count and give thanks for your blessings every day.

But the underlying foundation for Coach Wooden was his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He and his wife spent each day reading God's Word together and praying together. He taught his players biblical truths as he coached. He was faithful to his church in Santa Monica where he served as a deacon since 1948.

The Lord blesses those who walk faithfully and they have an impact on others.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Another film that is to be released on October 17 is called the Gospel of John. This is an accurate word for word presentation of the gospel of John. It is a three hour epic movie on the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. It will give you a good understanding of the gospel and will enhance your study of God's Word. I strongly encourage you to see this movie.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

I want to strongly recommend to all to see the movie "Luther." It is an accurate portrayal of one the great men of history. I was amazed at the boldness for the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ that Luther demonstrated throughout his life. One of the great moments in the movie is at the Diet of Worms were Luther is brought before the King to recant all his writings. After one night of prayer, on April 18, 1521 Luther spoke words that changed the world. He said, "Since your most Serene Majesty and your High mightiness, require from me a direct and precise answer, I will give you one, and it is this. I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless, therefore, I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or on plain and clear grounds of reason, so that conscience shall bind me to make acknowledgement of error. I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything contrary to conscience."

Then looking around about the gathered assembly of rulers he added: "Here I stand, I can do no other. May God help me. Amen."

The boldness of one man spread throughout Europe and led to the Reformation. I encourage to you see the movie and come to understand the boldness that is sometimes needed when we stand for truth in a culture that is hostile to all that is good and right!

Monday, October 06, 2003

One of the most famous editor’s of the New York Times was a man by the name of Louis Jennings. He was a pioneer of American Journalism. He was editor of the New York Times during the 1870’s. He was a committed Christian and became a staunch supporter of the pro-life movement. He decided to use the influence of the New York Times to change public opinion. He began his campaign on this day, 133 years ago. He knew the power of the printed page and he used it expertly.

He started his campaign with an editorial that was called “The Least of These Little Ones.” He said in this editorial that “the perpetration of infant murder . . . is rank and smells to heaven.” He had a young couple pose as an abortion minded couple and go into one of the abortion businesses in New York City. From the information that they picked up, they later wrote a hard-hitting feature which was entitled “The Evil of the Age.” It showed how thousands of human beings were murdered before they have seen the light of the world.”

Newspaper crusaders know that once the basic facts are laid out and readers become aware of a problem, a specific incident is still needed to galvanize the public. It was not long before such a story arose in New York. It was the story of a young woman who was found crammed inside a trunk in a railroad baggage room. The autopsy showed she had died while aborting her baby. The New York Times ran with story and showed the life-destroying arts of the abortionists in New York.

It was not long before the AMA (American Medical Association) joined in with the New York Times with a report that was widely circulated emphasizing, “the safety of the child” and denouncing “the perverted views of morality” underlying abortions.

It was the leadership and the national visibility of his paper that ultimately swayed both the legal and the medical establishment to publicly denounce abortion as murder. We can learn from this that the greatest weapon we have in life is truth. It takes the boldness of Christians who are willing to proclaim the truth against a world that does not want the truth and cannot handle the truth. If we are going to be salt and light in this world, it will only happen when we are willing to boldly proclaim the good news of the Lord Jesus! May the Lord again raise up men and women who have the boldness and conviction of Louis Jennings!

Friday, October 03, 2003

I was reading Oswald Chamber's "My Utmost for His Highest" the other day and was greatly impacted by what he had to say. He was talking about our call to suffering for the Lord Jesus Christ. Oswald Chambers was using the passage Colossians 1:24. "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions."

Chambers said, "God can never make us wine if we object to the fingers He uses to crush us with. If God would only use His own fingers, and make me broken bread and poured-out wine in a special way! But when He uses someone whom we dislike, or some set of circumstances to which we said we would never submit, and makes those the crushers, we object. We must never choose the scene of our own martyrdom. If ever we are going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed; you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed."

Our response to trials and tribulations of life is to consider it all joy. The Lord is working to make us more into the image of God. The circumstances or people that the Lord uses is based on His good pleasure and according to his perfect will. I am called to trust my Lord as He does his work in my life. Why would I not respond in "joy" to any work that makes more like Jesus!

Tough times are a part of our spiritual growth. May we rejoice as Paul does because of the work that God is doing in his body, the church.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

We were privileged last May to have Dr. George Grant at our church. While we were talking in my office on Saturday afternoon, he introduced me to blogging. I have been reading his blog since then and I have learned much reading Dr. G's Litblog. I would recommend Dr. Grant's blog as a place to mark on your favorite's list. He covers a wide range of topics and always gives great insight from a Christian persepctive.